Sanda Shoes (山打皮鞋) and Manning Shirt (萬寧恤)

York Lo: Sanda Shoes (山打皮鞋) and Manning Shirt (萬寧恤)

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Neon sign of Sanda Shoe/Manning Shirt on 630-632 Nathan Road in Mongkok in the 1960s (next to Yips Shirt at 636 Nathan Road, see our Indhhk article)

Sanda Shoes is one of the brands from the 1950s through 1970s which is permanently etched in the memories of most HK residents. With a chain of at least 5 shoe stores in HK and Kowloon, Sanda was a leading local shoe brand along with brands covered earlier such as Crane, Po Shing, Fung Keong and others such as Po Fong. It also manufactured its own “Manning Shirt” in the 1960s although that never really caught on and is largely forgotten today.

Sanda was founded in the mid-1950s by Yeung Nai-ying (楊乃英 or 楊乃瑛), a merchant involved in the trading of leather materials (for shoes and other leather goods) and woolen piece goods through Yue Tai Cheung Ltd (裕泰祥) at 11-13 Wing Kut Street and Lee Fung & Co (利豐公司) at 35 Jervois Street.

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Left: Sanda’s Mongkok store (Public Records Office); Right: plastic bag of Sanda from the 1970s

It is likely that Yeung chose the name Sanda because of its foreign connotation – at the time all HK police and armed forces wore boots made by Sanders & Sanders, a UK shoemaker which has been around since 1873, which were referred by the locals as “Sanda Shoes”. Unlike some of its peers mentioned above Sanda focused on the higher end market with shoes made with high quality imported materials and in addition to its own brand of shoes, it also sold foreign premium brands such as Clarks which were considered luxury items by the general public. Yeung also came up with catchy marketing taglines such as “Sanda Shoe, Sanda has the most beautiful shoes, the most beautiful items at Sanda are shoes, Sanda has the most beautiful shoes” (山打鞋,山打最靚係皮鞋,皮鞋最靚係山打,山打最靚係皮鞋)

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Yeung Nai-ying at the airport before his European and US trip that will last until Christmas. The man with the white circle was Yeung. (WKYP, 1960-5-24)

The first two Sanda outlets were located on Nathan Road in Mongkok – 587-589 and 630-632A. On December 1957, the third Sanda store opened at Li Po Chun Chambers in Central. Two years later on December 28, 1959, the fourth Sanda store opened on the ground floor of Man Yee Building (萬宜大廈) in Central. The location was considered the top shopping destination in HK at the time with the first escalator in its shopping arcade and the Sanda store was right next to Tom Lee Piano.

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Left: Sanda Shoes on the ground floor of the old Man Yee Building in Central, to the right of the bus, in the 1970s Right: announcement of Sanda opening in the Man Yee Building 1959 (WKYP 1959-12-28)

In 1960, the fifth Sanda outlet opened at 225 Nathan Road next to the Shamrock Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. The same year, Sanda appointed Lee Say Co Ltd as the exclusive distributor in Singapore to market its Sanda shoes there and boasted itself as the largest shoe company in Hong Kong in terms of sales.

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Left: Sanda’s ad about its new Manning shirt in 1963 (WKYP, 1963-4-1) Right: ad promoting Sanda shoes in Singapore by Lee Say Co Ltd (Nanyang Siang Pao, 1960-12-10)

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Ad about Sanda’s new Manning shirt Buy 2 Get 1 sale with picture of shoppers (WKYP, 1963-4-3)

In 1962, Sanda expanded into women and children clothing and in 1963, it expanded into men’s clothing by carrying foreign shirt brands such as Manhattan, Arrow, Truval and Bud Berma but also by launching its own Manning shirt. As covered in other articles earlier on this website the late 1950s saw a number of shirt brands emerging in HK – including Crocodile, Yips, Spear, Union V-tex etc. and Sanda decided to enter the business as well by setting up a shirt factory in 1157-1159 Canton Road in Kowloon and making shirts with high quality imported materials and state of the art equipment. Despite heavy marketing (such as Buy 2 get 1 sale), Sanda was late to the party and Manning Shirt never really caught on.

More info is needed as to when Sanda went out of business and why. One source claims that the Sanda chain closed in 1973 (according to a minibus bus sign painter who worked there). Another source claims that the Yeung family of Sanda were astute investors in the stock market who bought up shares of blue chip stocks such as HK Electric and by the time Cheung Kong planned its acquisition of HK Electric they had accumulated 6% of the firm. Sanda Limited, the holding company of the chain, was incorporated in 1970 but dissolved in 1993. Yue Tai Cheung was incorporated in 1969 and also dissolved in 1993.

Additional Sources:

  1. https://hk.finance.appledaily.com/finance/realtime/article/20140122/52114560
  2. 華僑日報, 1962-04-07, 1960-8-12, 1957-12-29
  3. http://paper.wenweipo.com/2015/10/13/OT1510130010.htm
  4. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/nysp19600707-1.2.28.14
  5. http://hohoban.com.hk/2017/06/30/hawk/

This article was first posted on 23rd February 2018.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Flip Flops Across the Globe: How HK Exporters John Cowie and Nylex Left their Global Footprints with Plastic Sandals
  2. The Tales of the Two Smart Shirts – Standard Shirts Dyeing, Weaving & Finishing Mills and Smart Shirts Manufacturers Ltd
  3. Spear and Yips – Pioneers of the HK Shirt Industry
  4. Big and Tall from Nanking Rd to Nathan Rd: Jefferson Young (楊撫生) of Crane (鶴鳴), Chancellor (大人), Da Da (大大) and the rise and fall of his retail empire
  5. The Tam Brothers behind Wai Yee Co, King’s Shirts and Yau Sun Shoes
  6. Fung Keong (1891-1973) – King of Rubber Shoes
  7. Union (V-Tex) Shirts (伊人恤) – the Rise and Fall of an Iconic Hong Kong Brand

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